At this point, “Twitter CEO Elon Musk Has Upset People” is a news item roughly synonymous with “dog bites man” and “water remains wet.”
But even by his standards, the world’s most extremely online man went above and beyond recently, suspending a number of high-profile journalists, before eventually reversing course. Musk was upset, in particular, about journalists that reported on a banned account called ElonJet, that gave the location of Musk’s private jet, which comes from easily accessible public information.
Musk felt this action was akin to being doxxed, and referred to the updates as “assassination coordinations,” but following nearly universal condemnation, including from the United Nations and the EU Commission, he reversed course.
Then, he banned any links to Twitter’s many competitors, including Mastodon and Hive, and said he would suspend accounts that try to direct users to alternative platforms. The move was also widely criticized, with New York summarizing it as “Elon Musk Tried to Ban Leaving Twitter.”
Musk’s Latest Twitter Poll Received A Surprising Response
Musk then issued a rare mea culpa, acknowledging the rashness of his actions.
He then posted one of his frequent polls, asking if it was time for him to leave Twitter.
The final result of the poll was 57.5% in favor of him leaving, and 42.5% in favor of him staying. Though he is under no obligation to obey the results of this poll, he has indicated in the past that he would eventually find a new CEO for the company. Musk has other companies to oversee and Tesla’s (TSLA) – Get Free Report value has dropped 28% since he took over Twitter 1,000 years ago.
(Editor’s note: Musk officially became the CEO of Twitter on October 27th of this year, not 1,000 years ago, though you can see why our writer got confused.)
But while we’re all used to Elon Being Elon Online, this poll was notable for one particular response.
That’s right, everyone. MySpace Tom has entered the chat. And boy, were people glad to see him.
Everyone Missed Their Friend Tom
Based on Twitter’s trending topics, people really miss Tom Anderson, the co-founder (along with former CEO Chris DeWolfe) of MySpace, which launched almost 20 years ago. (I apologize if I just made you feel very old.)
Honestly, I’m not surprised at all.
(So full disclosure. I spent the last several years working on a book about the rise and fall of MySpace, and in particular its impact on the music industry and the birth of modern online fan communities. It’s called “Top Eight: How MySpace Changed Music,” and it will be available on August 15th of next year through Chicago Review Press, and you can pre-ordered it right here, if you so wish. )
So after spending time talking to the people who worked at MySpace, from the beginning to the functional end, here’s why I believe people are so nostalgic for Mr. Anderson.
In an era where we seem overwhelmed with people who seem to be addicted to a need for attention, Anderson did something that seems impossible today. He quit while he was ahead.
So many people (not naming names) will do anything and debase themselves in any way possible just to remain in the spotlight. Or they will do anything, and hurt any marginalized community, in the name of growth. But unlike some tech leaders, Anderson hasn’t been dragged before Congress to answer for his part in the undermining of American security, and no one blames Our Friend Tom for the rise in white supremacy and hate speech.
Instead, Anderson is the equivalent of a band that had two great albums and that broke up before they started to suck. These days, according to his friends, he largely just chills in Hawaii, where he is so widely beloved he’s the unofficial Mayor in his town, and is pursuing his interest in photography.
I don’t know what Anderson’s net worth is, or if he invested the millions he made at MySpace into billions. We all know he has nowhere near the level of wealth as Musk, Zuckerberg or any other high profile tech person. But I do know that studies have shown that after you have accumulated a certain amount of wealth, additionally money doesn’t make you happier, and I suspect Anderson knows he has enough and has made his mark.
In a world where so many powerful people seem like howling voids of need, Anderson deciding that he’d had his fill and was content to peace out. It’s the ultimate flex, one very few people who ever reached his level seem capable of pulling off. Anderson stopped while he was ahead, and before we could turn on him, and he retained his sense of humor to boot.
There’s no one else like him around anymore, and no site like prime Myspace either. So it’s no wonder we were all happy to see our old friend, if only for a moment.